Skip to content

Baseball to expand the use of instant replay

Apr 14, 2011, 1:32 PM EDT

Cuzzi Mauer-thumb-250x165-2271

Good news for people who hate bad calls:

Major League Baseball is leaning toward expanding replay for the 2012 season to include trapped balls and fair-or-foul rulings down the lines, a person familiar with the talks tells The Associated Press.  Major League Baseball is leaning toward expanding replay for the 2012 season to include trapped balls and fair-or-foul rulings down the lines, a person familiar with the talks tells The Associated Press.

The expanded replay will not cover out/safe calls, but we’ll take what we can get at this point.  And really, if they’re moving beyond straight boundary calls (i.e. they’re reviewing trapped balls) it’s only a matter of time before they go out/safe too. I mean, ball-in-the-glove is ball-in-the-glove, right?

The article has the usual assortment of pro and con player quotes. This one from Chone Figgins is the most significant, I think:

“To have those guys go back and look at replay for everything, it would be just too long unless they had a signal from upstairs and hit a button.”

That’s the key, I believe, for replay to work well as it expands in use. The eye-in-the-sky — I say a fifth umpire in a booth — who can almost instantly review calls without on-field arguing and challenges and without the regular umpires having to leave the field.  We already allow one ump to overrule another if he saw a play better. This would simply be an extension of that. Indeed, practically speaking all it would require is an ear piece worn by the crew chief. If the sky-ump sees the play was called wrong on the field, it can be resolved in a matter of seconds.

Good going baseball.  Now go all the way with it.

  1. kmgannon - Apr 14, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    Your proposal makes way too much sense, and is way too efficient, for MLB to consider its implementation. Why don’t you boondoggle it up a little bit, make it awkward and unwieldy, and antagonize committed fans–and then get back to us?

    • okobojicat - Apr 14, 2011 at 2:16 PM

      And a study group. Don’t forget the Blue Ribbon Panel.

  2. jamie54 - Apr 14, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. The technology has been there for year’s but its been the administration that has been abhorrent. Replay can be done within a matter of seconds, thumb up or down. Official in the booth makes the call and it won’t add any time since the digital proof is there and you won’t have some fat ump arguing with a tobacco chewing manager.

    • 4theump - Apr 14, 2011 at 3:20 PM

      Absolutely rediculous!!!!!!! The next thing you know they will be using the plate cam to call balls and strikes. These umpires have worked a lifetime to hone their skills only to be 2nd guessed almost every step of the way. Wake up folks and restore this great game to what is once was, umpires as well as players are part of the game. This will ultimately kill baseball by extending already long games even more with nonsecal appeals for replays.

      • mritty - Apr 14, 2011 at 3:34 PM

        Wow, you don’t even realize how much you just disproved your own point, do you? Yeah, they’ve “worked a lifetime to hone their skills”, and they STILL get it wrong on a frequent basis. The human eye is simply not capable of distinguishing the split-second nature of the game. And they are not “2nd guessed” every step of the way – they are FLAT OUT DISPROVEN when they get a call wrong.

        No one is saying the umpires are to blame for being fallible human beings. We’re saying a better alternative to fallible human beings exists, and it’s foolish to not take advantage of it.

        We don’t expect human beings to count to themselves to judge who has the best time in a race – we use a machine (a clock). Why do we expect human beings to determine whether a foot gets to a bag or a ball gets to a glove first?

      • purdueman - Apr 14, 2011 at 3:57 PM

        mritty… Let’s frame the argument in favor of the expanded use (but never for ball and strike calls or bang bang plays at 2b because just “being in the neighborhood” (of the bag), is a baseball tradition and is responsible for avoiding a lot of unnecessary collision injuries like the kid in Minnesota just suffered).

        By time an MLB umpire becomes a proven veteran, they are usually in their ’40’s if not older. It’s a known fact that in most people, your eyesight will gradually fade typically (according to my optometrist), three and sometime four times in mid-life (and these are the veteran umps that are mostly making the MLB calls being discussed).

        Now add into the equation that the ump on a bang bang play on the base-paths has to concurrently watch the fielder and runners feet relative to their placement on the bag, the fielders glove and a small 5″ white ball flying into it at over 100 mph while avoiding a collision, all without still having 20-20 vision. Kindof takes the wind out of the sales of those so called purists who are dead set against increased use of available technology, doesn’t it?

        I also laugh at the so called “baseball traditionalists” who still 40 plus years later fight the implementation of the DH in the NL in order for baseball to have one set of universal rules. Those of you I wish to pose the following questions:

        When baseball was invented, there wasn’t indoor plumbing, electricity hadn’t yet been invented and most people got from place to place on horseback. Have any of you retained those great American traditions?

        I think that the against DH argument made some sense back in the day before specialized relief pitching became a part of the game, but the days of having to decide whether to pinch hit for the starting pitcher or not is pretty much limited to only if the starting pitcher has a very high pitch count already or it’s the sixth inning of play (as few starting pitchers today go past the 7th inning, making the call to pinch hit for them an easy one in todays NL if they are due to come up in the 6th).

        The last thing I want to see Selig do before he retires is to mandate that the NL adopt the DH rule using his “best interests of baseball” power (that by the way he’s never used during his 19 years as commissioner), even if it has to be “phased in” over say a 3-5 year period.

      • Jonny 5 - Apr 14, 2011 at 4:02 PM

        Purdueman, The DH in the NL? C’mon, why? That would do nothing but piss me off. And Cliff Lee. He likes batting. So he says.

        The DH rule isn’t how the game was meant to be played. That is all.

      • cur68 - Apr 14, 2011 at 4:24 PM

        J5: Speaking of how the game was meant to be played, I was watching a historical piece on baseball and I saw a version of the game I wasn’t aware existed. Apparently in the old days there was the rule that you had to tag the runner to get him out. He’d be safe if he could get to whatever base it was he was supposed to be getting to. It was not unusual to see guys getting chased all over the field by a catcher after a bunt. Think of the spectacle we are missing. Under such a set of rules plays could go on for minutes at a time and a premium would be on speedy catchers. The Molina boys would be out of a job.

      • Jonny 5 - Apr 14, 2011 at 4:38 PM

        LOL!!! I call your bluff…… I’m not going to get into the whole DH argument. Can’t I just have my NL the way it is without some smartypants AL fans who think they know better tell me how it should be? I like the NL the way it is in regards to having no DH. It’s better imo. You guys can keep your hired guns and treat your pitchers like some kind of mamby pamby “waaa I can’t hit” sally girls, and our manly NL pitchers will continue to come to the plate and get outs, or not. 😉

        In baseball everyone should use a glove and a bat if they want to play. That’s my opinion and nothing is going to change it. Not even the thought of Chooch running around trying to catch Jose Reyes after a bunt…

      • purdueman - Apr 14, 2011 at 4:47 PM

        jonny5…` “The DH rule isn’t how the game was meant to be played. That is all.”
        The game “as it was meant to be played” only allowed for individual non-attached finger gloves that merely covered the fielders hand; is that what you’re asking to bring back?

        The game was never invented with any thought whatsoever given to be able to play it under the lights at night. Are you proposing that we go back to all day games?

        The game as it was invented never allowed for teams getting from place to place on an airplane. Do you want all of the teams to go back to traveling only by automobile, bus and trains?

        The game as it was invented never had specialized closers, set up men or one batter and done situational relievers. How about banning all of those guys too?
        The reason that I am so rooted now in demanding the DH though in both leagues are the following:

        1) When the DH rule came into existence, it was primarily used for mostly past their prime ballplayers who could still hit but were defensive liabilities in the field. This is no longer the case, as there are only a handful of AL teams who now employ a one dimensional DH (Dunn in Chicago, but he still CAN play in the field, Big Papi in Boston and Vlade in Baltimore are the main such ones).

        Thanks to innovative Mike Scocsia, most AL teams now use a “rotating DH” as a means to give their starters a much needed blow from time to time.

        2) When the DH rule came into existence, the era of the specialized reliever hadn’t yet even started. It’s now irrelevant as to whether you pinch hit for the pitcher in the 7th or 8th innings because if your team is ahead with a slight lead, a specialized reliever is going to be brought into the game anyways; and

        3) A large part of baseball lore are its’ statistics and you simply can’t compare NL starters to AL starters because they get 2-3 mulligans a game by being able to face the opposing teams starting pitcher who typically just waves the bat around like a flag on a windy day. This makes the bottom of the order coming up in NL games almost as boring as watching synchronized swimming, grass growing, paint drying or a kids outdoor soccer match.

      • purdueman - Apr 14, 2011 at 4:53 PM

        “You guys can keep your hired guns and treat your pitchers like some kind of mamby pamby “waaa I can’t hit” sally girls, and our manly NL pitchers will continue to come to the plate and get outs, or not.

        In baseball everyone should use a glove and a bat if they want to play. That’s my opinion and nothing is going to change it.”

        jonny5… as Forest Gump liked to say: “Stupid is as stupid does”. I strongly suggest that you get that outrageous plumbing out of wherever it is that you live and go back to using a traditional outhouse too! That’s the way God intended us to “go” after all!

        You obviously aren’t a businessman or you wouldn’t want some of your highest paid employees to be doing something that is not there job to do and thereby risk serious injury. Case in point… Jake Peavy won the NL Cy Young Award in 2007 and was the Padres highest paid employee, and he tore up his ankle running the basepaths (which is something he is only called on to do at most in the NL once every 5 or 6 days), and then as a result missed the better part of two seasons.

        Ya, that’s real smart all right. Having your expensive pitchers bat and run the bases is like asking the plumber to rewire your house.

      • cur68 - Apr 14, 2011 at 5:36 PM

        Aww hell, purdue, detente over.
        First of all, the double standard system lends the game a certain quaintness IMO. I love the arguments that come up and J5 is among the best a holding his own (wrong) opinion, so give the devil his due (pie eating little pesky imp that he is).

        Second; there’s hardly any call to get all insulty over it; he’s got an opinion and so do you. Can’t you just cool it a bit?

        third; old fashioned is not necessarily bad. I saw some outtakes of modern players playing the old style rules with the ‘tag the runner to get him out’ thing. Friggin hilarious and the crowd was right into it. It took nearly 2 minutes to complete a play once and those guys were laughing so hard they could barely run, me along with them.

        fourth; if the the thought of Chooch legging it after Jose Reyes didn’t make you laugh, check yourself in to the nearest clinic for a missing humorous.

      • purdueman - Apr 14, 2011 at 6:02 PM

        cur68, not trying or intending to get insulty here, but the way I see it you either are or are not a traditionalist; can’t have it both ways cur.

        If you are a traditionalist then you shouldn’t own a cell phone, have a twitter or facebook account, use any ATM’s or store self check out lanes or ever make a payment for anything any other way than with cash or writing a check. These are after all about tradition too you know!

        I agree though that we’ve pretty much exhausted the DH great debate, so if you’re idea of entertainment is watching grass grow, paint dry or a national league pitcher wildly flail away hoping by some miracle to make meaningful contact with the baseball, more power to you!

        The one thing that NL style baseball has though I must admit is plenty of built in potty breaks and time to make concession stand beer and dogs runs without having to worry about missing any of the action while the 8th batter in the lineup is being pitched around and 9th batter in the lineup usually couldn’t hit a home run in a telephone booth!

      • jwbiii - Apr 14, 2011 at 6:40 PM

        Ah! Popcorn, beer, and a DH argument! Life is good : )

      • cur68 - Apr 14, 2011 at 8:07 PM

        Purdue; I’m not really interested in ANOTHER DH argument at the mo (sorry jwbiii). I just think you can so have it both ways.

        It’s like the cake v pie thing. Neither is wrong, just a matter of taste vs no taste. Some got it, some think they got it but really don’t; so what? Just because we disagree doesn’t mean we have to go right back to the pie eating stone age does it?

        Let the pie eaters have their little delusion of normalcy; us cake eaters will murder them in our parks and their cruelly bolstered #1 rotation in baseball can risk more injury in their ballparks. And that’s what I’m insinuating BTW; all NL teams are aberrant eaters of pie. That’s how wrong they are about not having a DH.

      • Jonny 5 - Apr 15, 2011 at 9:58 AM

        Purdueman, I just have to add after reading your book of bullshit you posted. I dislike the DH, it’s a cheap way to get more runs. It’s a cheap way to inflate the offense. It’s lame. I feel this way, you won’t change my mind. I’m not going to budge. You guys keep your “cheap” inflated offensive numbers, so you can puff out your chest and state how much “better” the AL is. You still want to do that don’t you? As CUR stated it’s Cake vs. Pie. I don’t mind rooting for the NL teams always since they have one hand tied on the offense comparatively. And i’ll relish every moment that comes when the Phills take AL teams to the cleaners without the added benefit of having a slugger fill in for the pitcher when it’s his turn to bat. Keep your “stupid” comments to yourself I suggest. I am in “business”, I’m in the business of spending money, lots of it. Your money, craigs money, Cur’s m…, Oh wait, he’s Canadian.. Anyway, I’m smart enough to be in charge of some pretty important things that deal with building power generation systems, not only for the public (CUR, I’m rebuilding part of a coal fired power plant for you guys right now, so maybe it some of your money?) but also for the US Navy for carriers and Subs. “I don’t like the DH” doesn’t equal stupid, It equals I’m different. Now go pound sand.

      • purdueman - Apr 15, 2011 at 10:20 AM

        jonny… says: “Anyway, I’m smart enough to be in charge of some pretty important things that deal with building power generation systems, not only for the public (CUR, I’m rebuilding part of a coal fired power plant for you guys right now, so maybe it some of your money?) but also for the US Navy for carriers and Subs.”

        jonny, I can’t decide whether your a regular Warren Buffet or a cross between Warren Buffet and the late Alexander Haig! The internet is a wonderful thing because you can claim to be anything that you want to be and no one can call you on it. I for example am an important US diplomat managing relations to a strategic Arab country!

        For all we know though, you’re really Peter Pan or perhaps the Sheriff of Nottingham, but this part of your rant just demonstrates that you must be indeed either a lot of stress and/or need to get your meds adjusted before you snap and go postal on someone.

        Once I could find that pile of dung you just posted under all the flies it was drawing, I have to admit that head stuck in the sand scared (of the DH), NL fans like you simply I guess don’t want to lose your built in potty breaks the usual three times a game when the starting pitcher comes up to the plate and swings like a paunchy secretary in a ladies softball beer league. How exciting! (NOT!).

        The only thing that I care about in the NL vs. AL nonsense is that there be a level playing field and despite the fact that the NL has enjoyed a considerable advantage by handicapping AL teams in their parks during interleague play, the AL consistently STILL kicks the NL’s ass every year. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

        As for the World Series? The Phillies have what? An almost $180M payroll already this year? Oh golly gee… wouldn’t it be a big surprise if they managed somehow to make it back to the World Series? (NOT!). Now please, go back to your sludge plants and leave us all alone.

      • Jonny 5 - Apr 15, 2011 at 11:16 AM

        Well I have to be honest, I never thought about lying anonymously on a message board until you just brought it up. What’s the point? I see now this conversation must end because you’re just not right in the head, or something. Sorry for having my own opinion. NOT!

      • purdueman - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:06 PM

        LOL! Have someone who doesn’t know you go back and read your ridiculous tamper throwing rant against the DH rule and then ask them who’s not “right in the head”. Then again, anyone who’d proud to admit like you are that they find a pitcher attempting to hit entertaining doesn’t need much to keep them busy either.

        This weekend why not try watching grass grow in a nearby park?; it’s just about as exciting as watching 99% of the pitchers attempt to hit at the big league level. Bet you’re a big outdoor soccer fan too, huh? Zzzzz-zzzzzzzz! That’s about on par with watching paint dry.

        jonny… you remind me of Jethro Bodine on the Beverly Hillbillies. Jethro one week would be a four star general, the next an astronaut and the next a fry cook! Whatever keeps you off the streets though is a good thing.

      • Jonny 5 - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:54 PM

        Huh, that’s funny, you remind me of a dick. Or an A-hole. Not too sure yet. I’ll let you know later. Either way the degree of separation between the two is minimal.

    • 4theump - Apr 14, 2011 at 3:20 PM

      Absolutely ridiculous!!!!!!! The next thing you know they will be using the plate cam to call balls and strikes. These umpires have worked a lifetime to hone their skills only to be 2nd guessed almost every step of the way. Wake up folks and restore this great game to what is once was, umpires as well as players are part of the game. This will ultimately kill baseball by extending already long games even more with nonsecal appeals for replays.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Apr 14, 2011 at 3:22 PM

        Thanks for the double post…it allowed me to thumbs-down twice! YAY!

  3. Ryan Karhut - Apr 14, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    I like the human element involved in baseball. I think the more we use things like replay the less fun the game becomes. No one wants UMPIRE 4000 behind the plate do they? Leave the human element in.

    Hamilton Throws Coach ‘Under The Bus’

    • thefalcon123 - Apr 14, 2011 at 2:05 PM

      You’re right. It’s totally awesome to watch someone hit a double and then have an umpire whose name nobody knows, no one cares about, and not a single person paid a cent to see call it foul because he wasn’t playing close enough attention/was too far from the play to see it. That’s what baseball’s all about!

    • scatterbrian - Apr 14, 2011 at 2:46 PM

      Why is everyone’s perception of the future still rooted in Jetsons-type technology? Does anyone honestly think that–were baseball to employ some type of computerized umpiring–there would be actual robots on the field making calls in a Speak & Spell /Stephen Hawking voice?

      • mississippimusicman - Jul 27, 2012 at 3:12 PM

        I don’t think they will, but can we all just admit, for one moment, that actual on-field robots would be AWESOME!

    • mritty - Apr 14, 2011 at 3:36 PM

      I absolutely want UMPIRE 4000 behind the plate. The “human element” is the players and the coaches. They are what matters. Not the supposedly impartial judges. I watch a game to watch a contest between two sets of players, to see who can best the other. I do not watch a game to see the thrill of wondering whether or not an ump will get the call right.

      • purdueman - Apr 14, 2011 at 4:04 PM

        mritty… computerized ball and strike calls would unfairly penalize finesse pitchers who are good enough to live on the corners of the strike zone. If you favor that, why not just anoint pompous ass Tim Mc Carver baseballs “Grand Puhbah of Balls and Strikes” too? I have no problem with strike zones being slightly different from game to game and ump to ump, just so long as the ump is consistent with both teams.

        One thing usually overlooked though with respect to umpiring is that the best thing IMO that’s happened to baseball over the last 25 years was the firing of the militant union (mostly NL), umpires and bringing all umpires under one umbrella using one set of guidelines from which to call balls and strikes.

        For those of you who may not be old enough to know much about this, it used to be that the NL and AL umps assumed totally different positions from behind the plate to call balls and strikes, which led to the AL being widely regarded as a breaking ball league and the NL as a fastball league. That all thankfully went away once the umps were all put under the same set of guidelines after the ill fated umpire strike.

      • tomemos - Apr 14, 2011 at 4:25 PM

        “computerized ball and strike calls would unfairly penalize finesse pitchers who are good enough to live on the corners of the strike zone.”

        I don’t understand. If they’re on the corners, the computer would call those strikes. If what you’re talking about is pitchers who are routinely given strikes that are actually out of the zone…well, those are the players who are being unfairly benefited right now. Giving them the same strike zone as everyone else isn’t “unfairly penalizing” them.

      • scatterbrian - Apr 14, 2011 at 4:42 PM

        If anyone’s looking for an example of a Straw Man Fallacy, here’s a great one:

        Computerized ball and strike calls would unfairly penalize finesse pitchers who are good enough to live on the corners of the strike zone.

      • purdueman - Apr 14, 2011 at 5:47 PM

        “If anyone’s looking for an example of a Straw Man Fallacy, here’s a great one:

        Computerized ball and strike calls would unfairly penalize finesse pitchers who are good enough to live on the corners of the strike zone.”
        To those of you who exhibit this kind of narrow black and white thinking, let me ask you two questions:

        Is everything in your neat little worlds all black and white? A laser beam can of course define a finite boundary, sure, but can it interpret when a baseball starts to break or correct itself when the ball has a lot of movement initially coming over the front of the plate just ever so slightly off the laser beam outside but then bending back over the back of the plate?

        If you think that computerized ball and strike calling would actually work, I’ve got some beach front land in south Florida I’d like to sell to you; all that I ask is that you come at low tide and bring either cash or a bank cashiers check!

        Maybe we should just do away with not only the umpires, but the players as well and stage each baseball season going forward on the new Nintendo 3D box!

  4. pmcenroe - Apr 14, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    that photo never ceases to enrage me

  5. cur68 - Apr 14, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    What, and deny Davidson, Barry, or West the chance to draw attention to themselves? Move that focus to some hidden figure behind the scenes? You so crazy.

    • Utley's Hair - Apr 14, 2011 at 2:05 PM

      Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain—just keep looking at MEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!

      • cur68 - Apr 14, 2011 at 2:14 PM

        Holy crap; talk about fate! Watching the Mets v Rockies right now. Harris hits a shot that Giambi blocks, picks up and tosses to Morales, the pitcher (its an all Morales battery so I have to be clear which one) and Harris steps on Morales’s foot, forcing it to the bag, never touches the bag himself (too busy running into Morales) and he’s called safe! Apparently Morales, who lost his shoe on the play, was “off the bag”! That dude couldn’t have been more ON THE FRIGGIN BAG if he’d stopped to take a leak on it! Harris never touches the thing, only Morales’s foot! Franklin Morales is out of the game with an obviously sprained right ankle. REPLAY MO FO! Watch the replay you blind buggers!

      • cur68 - Apr 14, 2011 at 2:19 PM

        Whew. No harm done. Jose Morales, the catcher, gunned Willie Harris down trying to steal 3rd. Irony is a strange element Mr. Hair.

      • cur68 - Apr 14, 2011 at 2:20 PM

        uh…trying to steal 2nd. Sorry.

  6. bigxrob - Apr 14, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    Maybe they should have managers throw a red flag on the field, then talk to the ump about it before the ump scurries under a cover to watch the replay.

    That’s how the pro’s do it.

  7. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Apr 14, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    Cowboy Joe West v.2.0.7 with firmware upgrade, spyware protection, and anti-virus software bundle. Stock version does not include call verification or logic board.

    • cur68 - Apr 14, 2011 at 2:16 PM

      So a fat ump vs. a fat bundle? I take West in that fight. He’s meaner.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Apr 14, 2011 at 3:25 PM

        The latter has the upper hand in that it speaks in binary.

      • cur68 - Apr 14, 2011 at 3:26 PM

        West craps in binary. And unix.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Apr 14, 2011 at 5:09 PM

        Whoa, I did not realize that. West gets a 1-up mushroom for that.

  8. Jonny 5 - Apr 14, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    • scatterbrian - Apr 14, 2011 at 3:02 PM

      Good lord hip-hop is boring.

    • heynerdlinger - Apr 14, 2011 at 3:31 PM

      That video was a lot better when Public Enemy did it 22 years ago.

    • Jonny 5 - Apr 14, 2011 at 4:19 PM

      You know, I’m not really a fan of rap music. Although I do like some of it. I just agree with the guy. It’s about damn time. Who can argue with that?

  9. purdueman - Apr 14, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    Unless baseball is willing to add two more full time umps who are stationed in the outfield down the left and right field lines (as is the case during the playoffs and world series), instant replay I think is essential in order to get fair/foul and trapped ball calls correct.

    As for potential trapped balls, even without instant replay I don’t understand why when such a play occurs on fields that have natural grass the umps never check the ball for grass stains once play stops to verify their initial call. That’s simple enough, isn’t it? Baseball cowhide is quick you know to absorb any stains so if the ball hit the grass, it would have a green spot on it.

    Figgins is wrong about the time factor; I’ve seen several borderline home run balls reviewed since the replay rule went in and unlike the NFL, the umps huddle up, go to the dugout and do their review, and then quickly make their final decision. The NBA refs do a fantastic job too in being quick to rule when they go to a replay during the final 2 minutes of a game too.

    If implemented correctly, instant replay isn’t intended to show up the umps/referee’s, but to take the heat off of them when they are under the pressure to make a split second decision and potentially miss the call. Why wouldn’t the baseball umpires want that?

    As for reviewing safe/out calls, my take is that ONLY calls that could determine the outcome of the game or a historic achievement could be reviewed and that would be reviewed at the discretion of the official scorer. Under this guideline, the two unfortunate missed calls in the Royals-Cardinals world series turning game and the blown call on the Tigers starting pitchers perfect game would have been surely reversed.

    Before anyone jumps on me about what would constitute a call that would affect the outcome of a game or a historic achievement, baseball could take a page out of the NBA instant replay rulebook and simply limit instant replay sage/out reviews to only the 9th or 8th and 9th innings as well as all extra-innings.

    • cur68 - Apr 14, 2011 at 2:36 PM

      Ok purdue; my turn. I agree. Trouble is, what you suggest is sensible, minimally-intrusive and would see to it that the deserving team won more often. I think its possible that baseball gets more revenue out of the screw ups than getting it right. What do you think? Do enraged fans actually go to more ball games or fewer? Is it even possible to measure such a thing? I think so; a fuller stadium post an outrageous call in the previous game or the heating up/creation of a rivalry. Frankly? I could give a toss about the controversy being good for revenue. I’m more concerned with getting it right.

      • purdueman - Apr 14, 2011 at 2:48 PM

        cur68… The late, great promoter and former owner of the Indians and White Sox (twice), Bill Veeck always liked to say that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”, so you do raise an interesting question. Better for a team to be controversial than pushed to the back of the sports section; agreed.

        When it comes to the expanded use of instant replay in baseball though, I think it’s more of an integrity issue than anything. When that ump blew the Tigers pitchers perfect game on a bad final out call last season, it didn’t increase attendance the next time the pitchers turn came up in the rotation, but it did cause a respected veteran ump who missed the call a lot of unnecessary heartburn and public ridicule.

        I think that in the case of the NFL, what you say though is true, because there are so fewer regular season games. In other words, a loss in baseball caused by a bad call is still only 1/162nd of the regular season. In the NFL the stakes for a blown call though jump ten times to 1/16 and oftentimes means making the playoffs or not. That’s the difference and why NFL fans are so much more passionate about blown calls than baseball fans IMO.

      • cur68 - Apr 14, 2011 at 3:02 PM

        Yeah, your point on Jim Joyce is astute. Ironically, the first base call I mention above is a bit like that one. Wait’ll you see them screw the call against the Rockies in the sports news hi-lites. I don’t believe it matters who you support when they blow it like that. That play was tailor made for replay. The tricky bit will be when to go to the overhead ump. I think you’re right; save it for the Series or give the managers 1 challenge; something that sees to it they can’t endlessly challenge calls and when they do it’ll be when it really matters. Like in the late innings or extras. Armando Gallaraga would probably agree.

    • clydeserra - Apr 14, 2011 at 4:53 PM

      might want to check out that picture that goes along with this story before proclaiming foul line umps will help calling fair/foul.

  10. Loren - Apr 14, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    I don’t see why a replay ump has to be in the booth with the technology we have these days. MLB can save a lot of money by centralizing the whole thing and having one or two replay umps.
    In fact, this whole Fan Cave thing is probably just a dry run for centralized instant replay.

  11. frankvzappa - Apr 14, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    Did Bud Selig finally kick the bucket?

  12. clydeserra - Apr 14, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    I like the idea of robot umpires for basll and strikes and fair foul.

    I reserve judgement on trapped balls, because the answer to trapped or not, significantly influences what the runners may or may not do. This may be worked out, but I can’t see a fair way to answer the question now.

  13. garlicfriesandbaseball - Apr 14, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    OMG. All expanded replays will do is allow more time for programming to cut to commercials! Yuk! Who needs this? This is baseball folks…..leave it alone so we can continue to love and/or hate the umpires; it’s part of the tradition. Probably 98% of the plays are called correctly. Don’t mess with the other 2%. That’s what the umpires get the big pay for!

  14. purdueman - Apr 14, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    To you naysayers who would prefer to live back in the days that the Cubs last won a World Championship (indoor plumbing hadn’t yet been invented and Teddy Roosevelt was President), and stubbornly continue to oppose the NL adopting the DH rule because “that’s not the way baseball is supposed to be played”, I offer the following observations:

    1) EVERY level of baseball right down to the high school level all the way up through AAA to the Big Leagues has adopted the DH rule for decades now. Pitchers simply aren’t conditioned or trained to either hit or run the bases, any more than your local plumber is trained in wiring or putting roofs up on houses; and

    2) If the NFL thought the way you do, there still would only be 22 man rosters and all players would be expected to play full time both on offense and on defense. There would be no kicker either; that would have to be handled by one of the position players, and helmets of course would still be the strap on leather kind.

    Folks, it’s 2011. High time for the NL to come out of the stone age!

    • gdgrimm - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:19 PM


      1) You’re wrong about the use of DH in AAA. AAA clubs will have pitchers bat if the team is affiliated with a NL club. This may be true for other minor leagues as well, but I’ll let you practice doing research on that one and get back to us.

      2) The opposition to DH in NL (at least, from the people I know who oppose it), has nothing to do with “how baseball should be played”. Having pitchers hit leads to quite a few interesting managerial decisions in the game. Everything from when to pull the pitcher for a PH for reasons of a scoring chance, to double switches, to how to manage more bullpen innings, etc., etc., etc. Some feel that the quality of a manager and his decisons on these things should have a direct impact on the teams success in that day’s game. Others don’t care so much about that aspect of the game, and don’t care if the DH makes the manager’s decisions during the game less important to the games outcome.

      Personally, I like the way things are now, because it lets both types of fans have their fun.

      • purdueman - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:27 PM

        gd… if I’m wrong about the use of the DH in AAA, it’s because: a) I’m not a rotogeek so I pay little (if any), attention to a lot of what goes on in the minor leagues; and b) blame ESPN radio, because that was the source of my information.

        That aside though, I heard a great radio interview with Angel manager Mike Scocsia during spring training talking about the DH and the difference in managing it creates between the two leagues. Scosh said that he thinks managing in the AL is a lot harder than in the NL because:

  15. gdgrimm - Apr 15, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    I’m not convinced that this would be too useful. I don’t see how it would work when runners were on base, so I guess replay would only be available when bases were empty. And that would seem to limit the value to the point where I’m not sure if it’s worthwhile.

    To illustrate the runners on base problem, take the fairly common scenario of a runner on 1st, and a short fly ball to RF. The runner will advance about half way to 2nd, and if the umpire signals a clean catch, the runner and RF will try to make a play back at 1st base. Now if the umpire’s call is reviewed and it’s determined the ball was trapped, what do we do with runner? Give him 2nd based upon some assumption that he’d have beaten the throw to 2nd? Or call him out, assuming that he wouldn’t?

    You can get similar scenarios for the fair/foul calls, because the runner’s break on contact. Even if they see a foul call, the runner has no idea whether it’s a way foul ball, or if it’s one that might be reviewed, so the runner would need to advance on all foul balls as if they were fair. Then when they find out it was way foul and won’t be reviewed, return to their base. Otherwise, we’d be in the same situation as the RF example above, where a review might help get the call right, but then the umps would have to arbitrarily choose what happens with the runners.

    And I guess you could even have the issue with no runners on. Bases empty, a speedy batter hits a fly ball down the LF line, the LF dives and slides into the wall. It’s initially called a catch, but latter reviewed as a trap. Do you give the batter 1st or 2nd? I guess for this scenario, you could train the umps to always err on the side of making the initial call a trap, and then let the review process determine which ones were clean catches. That would remove the ambiguity of what base to put the batter at if the review turns out to be a trap.

    In any case, it all seems much more difficult to implement than the current HR or not rule. Currently, the umps only signal HR when they’re dang sure it was a HR, letting things play out for anything questionable. That way, regardless of how the review turns out, you know exactly where all the players should end up — either where they did end up, or all crossing home plate.

  16. purdueman - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    gd… if I’m wrong about the use of the DH in AAA, it’s because: a) I’m not a rotogeek so I pay little (if any), attention to a lot of what goes on in the minor leagues; and b) blame ESPN radio, because that was the source of my information.

    That aside though, I heard a great radio interview with Angel manager Mike Scocsia during spring training talking about the DH and the difference in managing it creates between the two leagues. Scosh said that he thinks managing in the AL is a lot harder than in the NL because:

    a) you have to build and manage your bullpen much differently because there aren’t the automatic outs that opposing pitchers in the NL receive at the bottom of the batting order (he expounded on that point by saying it’s not just the mulligan from having the other pitcher attempt to hit, but it’s also about neutralizing the 8th batter as well because opposing pitchers can simply pitch around the #8 hitter to get to the pitcher); and
    b) you have to build your starting lineup a lot differently because your #9 hitter oftentimes becomes very strategic as your second table setting lead off man.

    As to all the hopeless romantics out there who are hopeless in love with the “La Russa double switch” rule, it’s become largely irrelevant due to the advent of the specialized pitcher. If your team has a close lead, you’re going to bring in your setup man in the 8th and your closer in the 9th. The pitcher therefore isn’t going to hit in either of those innings anyway, so if they are due to hit they will simply be pinch hit for without the need to do a double switch.

    Pretty much in the NL your starting pitchers will bat for themselves if they are pitching well in innings 1-6; that leaves the only real opportunity to do a double switch if your starting pitcher or middle reliever is due to bat in the 7th.

    Now answer me this… what’s so damned exciting about having a punch and judy average hitting bench guy like Aaron Miles pinch hit for the pitcher because he then can be kept in the game afterwards (as most mid-game double switches involve utility infielders for that very reason)? Personally I’d rather see Big Papi or Vlad Guerreo hitting than Aaron Miles any day of the week and on both ends of a Sunday double header too.

    • gdgrimm - Apr 15, 2011 at 1:49 PM

      Thanks for passing along the summary of Scosh’s remarks. There’s a few things I could say about them, but I’ll leave it at this one — the things he mentions aren’t “in game” decisions. This topic is rather timely, BTW, because I just watched a replay of yesterday’s 1-0 Astros over Padres game in Houston, which included a couple of them.

      Bottom of the 6th, 0-0. Pitcher spot is due up 2nd. Norris (Astros’ SP) has pitched well, but has a pretty high pitch count, so Mills (Astros’ manager) will replace him. Since the Padres have a righty on the mound, that means using Mills’ only lefty PH. But Quintero gets a lead off single, creating a perfect bunt oppurtunity. So does MIlls’ use his only lefty PH here, or let Norris do the sacrifice to save the lefty PH for some potential need later in the game? Mills goes with letting the pitcher bunt Quintero to 2nd, and Q then scores from there on a single later in the inning. That turns out to be the game’s only run.

      Another one of those decisions came up the next inning. Mills’ normal set-up man (Lopez) was unavailable due to injury. Mills had Abad start the top of the 7th, but then had to bring Meloncon in later that half inning to keep the Padres scoreless. In the bottom of the 7th, the pitcher’s spot comes up again. This time there’s runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 outs. Another interesting decision point. Does Mills PH here to improve the chances of getting another run tacked onto their 1-0 lead? If so, he’ll either have to stretch his closer over 2 innings, or scrounge deep into the bullpen for somebody to start the 8th. Or does he let Melancon hit, which basically forfeits any chance of getting a run this inning, but allows the Astros’ to keep their best choice of pitcher on the mound for the 8th? Mills chooses to let the pitcher hit (he ends up drawing a BB), and Meloncon goes on to pitch a scoreless top of 8th.

      Those are in game decisions that Scosh will seldom have to deal with as long as he stays with the Angels.

      As for watching Vladi (and his type) hit — yes, I love it. More so last year when he was with the Rangers than this year :-) You and I can get that enjoyment by watching a whole bunch of AL games. But I also like watching managers have to do things like I described above. And I watch a bunch of NL games to see that good stuff. I really don’t know why we have to remove one type of enjoyment, when we can keep them both.

      Oh, BTW, I also like watching Giambi hit. But since he’s the Rockies “designated PH”, I assume you don’t think that’s as cool as being a DH in the AL.

      • purdueman - Apr 15, 2011 at 2:20 PM

        There’s not any rocket science involved in making “in game” decisions in the AL vs. the NL. Even the village idiot would still use the “La Russa double switch” (so aptly named because he holds the Guinness Book of World records for double switches, as he’s so in love with the rule he calls for it whether the situation calls for it or not).

        The only good thing that I see about the now steadily decline value of the “La Russa double switch” rule is that it makes NL teams build more versatile benches and keep their bench players involved on a regular basis.

        AL managers on the other hand (the worst case example ever being former manager Gene La Mont who filled out his lineup cards 162 games in advance using carbon paper and didn’t even know he had a bench), now more and more have redefined the DH position to be a rotating one so that they can keep their regulars fresh and their reserves involved and playing anyways.

        Joe Torre has oft been quoted as saying: “Even a good manager only might make the difference in 4 to 5 games a season”, and he wasn’t differentiating between league rules or styles of play when he’s repeatedly made those remarks.

        Torre was a difference maker in NY because he knew how to manage huge egos in big market cities. Showalter has been a difference maker in Baltimore because he manages like he’s a “little Hitler” and can get away with it for a few years before the players eventually revolt.

        Guillen has been a difference maker in Chicago because of the close clubhouse chemistry he fosters as well as how he’s always got his players backs. None of these difference makers are difference makers because of “in game” decision making. Lou Piniella was widely regarded as a “baseball genius”, yet look where his “in game” decisions took the Cubs four years in a row.

        To me the argument you present is one that I would expect from a “traditionalist” who doesn’t want to see much (if any), change. Not saying that’s wrong, just saying that baseball has clearly been the slowest of all sports to embrace change and it’s high time IMO that the NL gets into the 21st century.

        We’ve seen the so called “purists” mewl and whine over most any changes in the game, including the implementation of the wild card, the implementation of interleague play and the All Star exhibition game determining home field advantage for the World Series, yet MLB has somehow managed to survive and thrive, hasn’t it?!

        At a minimum, Selig should use his “best interests of baseball” to mandate that the DH be employed in all regular season and post season interleague games. It’s just simply not fair to handcuff AL teams with one hand tied behind their backs by forcing them to bench what’s typically one of their middle of the order hitters, yet the AL continues to totally dominate interleague play just the same.

  17. leftywildcat - Apr 16, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    Two great topics in one thread.

    The DH: I like the increased strategy of the NL; both the double substitutions (invented by Gene Mauch when in Philadelphia), and whether or not to pitch to the #8 batter when not knowing if the pitcher will be replaced by a PH. On the other hand, I don’t enjoy 15 inning games won ar lost by the last reliever or bench player available, for there’s little strategy left by then. I wouldn’t allow the DH in either league in any regular season game until the game goes into a 10th inning. But I think it should be allowed in all All-Star and post season games.

    Instant replays: I’ve never understood why there hasn’t been a 5th ump on each crew who sits in the broadcast booth and has all the filmed views of a play available to him, just as the television audience has. The 5th ump should not be a semi-retired or semi-skilled one, but one in the crew’s regular rotation. Either teams’ appeal of a play (other than ball/strike) should be to the ump in the booth — and shouldn’t take hardly any longer than an routine ball/strike appeal does now. He has to have the option of saying that he does not have a definite view of the play. (At times I’ve thought that the current long, drawn-out replay appeal method was put in place by someone opposed to it and so tried to turn the fans against the idea.) Existing rules for ground rule doubles would be used for runners’ advances.

    So I’m a purist when it comes to strategy (the DH) but not when it comes to the integrity of the game (last year’s “perfect game”).

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. D. Wright (3156)
  2. G. Stanton (2562)
  3. M. Teixeira (2481)
  4. H. Olivera (2404)
  5. Y. Cespedes (2386)
  1. J. Fernandez (2357)
  2. K. Medlen (2181)
  3. Y. Puig (2129)
  4. G. Perkins (2085)
  5. J. Eickhoff (2059)